Courageous Steps Project hosts annual Unified Basketball Fun-Day in Orono

Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 7:41 PM EST
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - It was a busy day on the basketball court at Orono High School Saturday as Unified Basketball Teams from around the area met in the “5th Annual Unified Basketball Fun-Day,” hosted by the Courageous Steps Project; the nonprofit that supports children and young adults with various abilities and challenges and channels resources to enhance their success in school and in life.

The event is about more than just putting the ball in the basket, providing participating teams with two games each, in an effort to grow the sport and its camaraderie.

“Just to play a fun day of basketball, that’s the goal,” said Courageous Steps Project Founder & Chairman Connor Archer. “To have fun, really make friends, and really just have a few laughs as well during it all. Unified basketball is the best thing that’s going on in sports.”

Those goals were easily met Saturday, and according to Courageous Steps the event means as much to the volunteers as it does the players, according to Courageous Steps Events Co-Chair Tina Roderick.

“This is my favorite day out of the whole year,” Roderick said. “My husband is laughing at me because I’ve been up at 4 o’clock the last three mornings, just waking up excited for this day. It’s like a little kid at Christmas.”

It seems unlikely James Naismith could’ve had any idea of the impact the game of basketball would have when he invented it. But at events like this Unified Fun-Day, that impact is undeniable.

“Before I joined Unified, I would never talk to anyone,” said Jaron Baudy, a former player for Bangor who now coaches Hampden Academy.

“Most of the time I don’t talk and just stand behind my dad or other people and just let them talk,” added Hampden freshman player Adriana Fairbrother. “But I’m coming out of my shell a little bit, and enjoying talking to other people.”

A hundred percent of the money raised through admissions and 50/50 raffle goes back to the schools that participated.

“It’s really fun and you should do it next year,” Fairbrother said.

“And come and watch,” said Baudy. “It’s great to see everyone getting a chance to play.”

For more information or to find out how to volunteer with Courageous Steps Project, visit